As the recent takeover rumours and appointment of Julen Lopetegui rages on, Alex Richards looks to find some clarity in the ongoing storm.
I’m trying to make sense of it all…
Potential new owner: Robin Li, 47.
Net worth $11.4billion. Self made, parents were factory workers in Shanxi.
Founder of Baidu, China’s largest search engine 80% market share.
Chairman and CEO of Baidu Inc. The first Chinese company on NASDAQ Stock Exchange.
Why move into English football?
Premier League money is vast and he would need to get Wolves to the promised land.
Li could have just moved into the Chinese Super League, where huge sums are being thrown around as President Xi looks to turn the country into a footballing superpower . Sporting success is vitally important to his government.
However, it appears worldwide exposure for Baidu could be more important or be the end game.
Can he help them grow into other markets? Their share price has dropped $23 a share since April 8th ($188 down to $165.) For example advertising could help move the company into other commercial areas which are more lucrative.
Baidu have (in recent years) become more involved in ecommerce, guiding users to offline services eg. ticket purchasing for moves. Moving outside of China will greatly enhance the company’s opportunities.
As such, it is reasonable to expect an owner that’s less Carson Yeung and more City Football Group.
Agents working on the deal
Jorge Mendes & Carlos Bucero are apparently the agents working on these deals according to Guillem Balague.
Mendes - Head of Gestifute agency. Agent for, most notably, Jose Mourinho & Cristiano Ronaldo and a vast number of Portuguese players.
More importantly he has brokered investment/takeover deals at Valencia/Deportivo/Monaco and Atletico Madrid in recent years. He has become key to transfer strategies of all clubs.
Outsourced from Portugal where, between 2001-2010, 68% of deals involving the big three (Porto, Sporting, Benfica) involved Mendes. Over the last two decades, has been involved in transfers totalling over £1billion.
Possibly the most powerful man in football.
Bucero – Has worked for Real Madrid and as Sporting Director at Real Betis. He has moved from clubs to agency and in the last 5/6 years he has been working for Gestifute (somewhat as Mendes’ No.2).
Crucially, he is the agent for Julen Lopetegui which has been built around a longtime friendship. He played a key role in Lopetegui taking the Porto job in 2014 (working with Mendes).
Negotiated Lopetegui’s severance package in Portugal in January.
The club have made a pertinent point on not discussing potential bids ever since being put up for sale.
Likewise, little has appeared from Robin Li’s camp.
You could speculate that progress has been made and the two sides could have entered into a non-disclosure agreement as they sort out the final details.
There has also been a recent rumour of a move for Ivan Cavaleiro, another Gestifute client who cost Monaco £12million from Benfica last summer. Another club reportedly interested are Sheffield Wednesday, whose manager, Carlos Carvalhal, is another Gestifute client.
So, expect plenty of foreign media links , mostly from Portugal and Spain, of Wolves being linked with foreign players if a takeover goes ahead.